Lakyn Interview: "Music has made it possible for me to do so many things."
The genre-bounding Melbourne musician releases his '& Pains' EP today, with an east-coast tour kicking off in a few weeks time.
It's incredibly challenging to box Melbourne musician Lakyn into a genre. Not that this is something that needs to be done, after all, the uniqueness that comes with leaping over genre 'boundaries' is something we've heavily applauded with acts in the past, but with Lakyn, it's literally impossible. On any given one of his tracks, the emerging musician combines his long-time influences in rock music with thick R&B vocals, confident pop hooks and a general, hip-hop-inspired vibe that together, creates this sound that you'd expect from someone like The Weeknd if he picked up a guitar. A strange comparison I know, but one listen of his just-released new EP, & Pains, makes it clear.
Released today via Island Records/Universal Music, & Pains is a six-track exploration of this unique and quite left-field sound (unique to Australia, at least), with producers such as Kuren and Jia-Lih aiding the Melbourne up-and-comer warp and flip every facet of his influences and inspiration. The end result is a six-track release that while vastly different vibe-wise, are joined by this smooth and sultry R&B-like feeling which is simply irresistible, particularly thanks to Lakyn's polished vocal. View Looks So Good, the EP's enchanting opener, showcases this best. Uniting a subtle electric guitar with this washed-out, Kuren-co-produced production, View Looks So Good demonstrates this unique take on R&B perfectly, especially when combined with Lakyn's warm and quite personal vocal which on singles like First Impressions, are injected with a bit more of a confident and bold, pop-centric edge.
"With these six songs I wanted to be brutally honest, acknowledging that in my past, life was painful," Lakyn says on the release, highlighting the at-times personal and quite vulnerable nature of the release. "I'm super happy and enjoying life now, but I can't forget that I used to carry around some heavy weight that affected myself and the people closest to me." With the full EP out now - grab it HERE - and a bunch of guest-heavy east-coast shows over September/October (full dates at the end of this article), we caught up with the bleached hair up-start to chat about the EP, his live show, and what he has planned for us next.
So first up, you’ve released a couple of singles, but you’re still relatively fresh to the scene, so can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your music, and what you’re all about?
I’m 26, I enjoy peanut butter on toast and short walks to the kitchen. I skateboard quite a bit and that’s my only other outlet.
Music has made it possible for me to do so many things I always wanted to do like designing my tour posters, artworks, merch or any ideas I have, but obviously, the most important thing is the music.
My music reflects how I see the world. I aim to make music that reminds people of familiar feelings and hopefully make them remember their past or better yet imagine their future because that’s what I thank music for helping me with.
Sweet Days is your latest track, can you tell us a little about the single and what’s it about?
It’s really interesting to me because Sweet Days wasn’t written about anyone specifically but rather about a feeling I think we can all relate to. The concept of love, loss and how memories slowly fade over time. The crazy thing is, I met someone a year after it was written and we were together for about four months before she moved back to Sweden, soon after I released Sweet Days and then I realised I had predicted/manifested so many of the details that are in the song.
The track’s video sees you team up with Sunny Leunig and Geoffrey O’Connor, who both have some pretty damn big directorial projects behind them. What drew you to this pairing for the Sweet Days video, and what was the experience like working with them?
I had worked with Sunny on a music video for a song of mine called West and it was great collaborating with him and getting on the same page with thoughts and ideas, so when Sunny suggested Geoff should get involved for Sweet Days I just trusted him, and it worked out so well in the end. I’m super proud of this vid.
You mention that the clip is about being able to look back on hazy past experiences, which is not just sorta Black Mirror-ish, but also a super creative idea. Can you tell us a bit more about the video and where the inspiration for it came from?
A few years back, I noticed I wasn’t always present in the moment. Sometimes I would be somewhere and be thinking about the past or worrying about the future, so I started practising just being present and that has helped me a lot. I wanted to spread that idea; although I didn’t want it to be so obvious or follow any kind of narrative, I just want people to have the freedom of reflecting on themselves while watching the video.
It’s the second tease from your upcoming & Pains EP, which is out now. What should we expect from the full EP release?
Throughout this EP, I’ve covered a lot of angles of myself over the past few years. I am a confident person, I’m super happy and enjoying life but I can’t forget that I used to carry around some heavy weight that affected myself and the people closest to me. This EP, sonically and lyrically, captures the good times and the bad.
You’ve also got a bunch of dates coming up – can you walk us through your live show, how it works, and what we should expect?
I’m so keen on these shows coming up because I now feel like I’m covering a wide range of feelings throughout the set and considering hundreds of people in a room are all at different stages of life I hope to cater to everyone’s needs. The setup is my drummer Gareth and myself, we also both have beat pads that sample some of the sounds and percussion from the produced versions of my songs. My pedal board with all my guitar effects is how I make some nice soundscape/underwater feels.
Otherwise, now with the EP hurdle out the way and a bunch of dates on-lock – what’s next? What can we expect from you over the rest of the year and into 2019?
I finished this EP and while it was getting prepared for release, I just kept writing, producing and collaborating with some awesome people so I guess I have a lot of ammo. My plans are to keep playing shows and work toward sharing more music.
Tour Dates (tickets and more info HERE):
Thu, 27th September – Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney (with Nardean)
Fri, 28th September – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane (with Blaq Carrie)
Thu, 4th October – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne (with Charlie Threads)
Follow Lakyn: FACEBOOK